Background — There is no reliable estimate of costs incurred by motorcycle crashes. Our objective was to calculate the direct costs of all publicly funded medical care provided to individuals after motorcycle crashes compared with automobile crashes.
Methods — We conducted a population-based, matched cohort study of adults in Ontario who presented to hospital because of a motorcycle or automobile crash from 2007 through 2013. For each case, we identified 1 control absent a motor vehicle crash during the study period. Direct costs for each case and control were estimated in 2013 Canadian dollars from the payer perspective using methodology that links health care use to individuals over time. We calculated costs attributable to motorcycle and automobile crashes within 2 years using a difference-in-differences approach.
Results — We identified 26 831 patients injured in motorcycle crashes and 281 826 injured in automobile crashes. Mean costs attributable to motorcycle and automobile crashes were $5825 and $2995, respectively (p < 0.001). The rate of injury was triple for motorcycle crashes compared with automobile crashes (2194 injured annually/100 000 registered motorcycles v. 718 injured annually/100 000 registered automobiles; incidence rate ratio [IRR] 3.1, 95% confidence interval [CI] 2.8 to 3.3, p < 0.001). Severe injuries, defined as those with an Abbreviated Injury Scale ≥ 3, were 10 times greater (125 severe injuries annually/100 000 registered motorcycles v. 12 severe injuries annually/100 000 registered automobiles; IRR 10.4, 95% CI 8.3 to 13.1, p < 0.001).
Interpretation — Considering both the attributable cost and higher rate of injury, we found that each registered motorcycle in Ontario costs the public health care system 6 times the amount of each registered automobile. Medical costs may provide an additional incentive to improve motorcycle safety.
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